A-Visiting We Will Go

If you don’t hear from us, it means that Sam and I are visiting with patients and staff for the next couple of days but are looking forward to sharing our adventures with you soon. Have a super ‘Furs-Day.’

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know?

Do you know where the term “dog says of summer” originated? Sam and Elsa here. When mom said we could do a post about the Dog Days of Summer, it set our tails-a-waggin’. Something about dogs?…oh heck yes! Put us in, coach.

Follow the belt of Orion to find Sam and Elsa’s Star Sirius. Credit: Starry Night Software

Typically those hot, sultry days in summer are referred to as “dog days” or “dog days of summer.” Visible from anywhere on Earth, Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major otherwise known as the Greater Dog. Dog? Hmm, why they didn’t just call it Sam and Elsa’s star is still a mystery to us. Perhaps it’s due in part to the ancient history we learned. Right now you see ‘our star’ as it ascends in the east before dawn on late summer mornings. The simple answer is because the hottest/most humid days of summer are associated with Sirius (aka the “Dog Star”) because it was the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major.

Now for some astronomic history…first from the Egyptians. The period following the heliacal rise (that period of less than a year when it had not been visible) of Sirius when the constellation becomes visible just above the eastern horizon before sunrise generally arrives around July 19th and ends around the last week of August. This timeframe roughly corresponded with the annual flooding of the Nile River.

Not to be outdone on all things Sirius, ancient Romans believed it radiated extra heat toward the Earth. During the summer when Sirius rises and sets with the Sun, they were convinced the added, additional heat to the Sun’s heat caused hotter summer temperatures.

For the ancient Romans, the dog days of summer period was from about July 24 to around August 24. Over time, the constellations have drifted somewhat and today, The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the dog days of summer to be from July 3 until August 11.

Although “dog days” are usually the hottest of the summer, they really don’t have anything to do with either dogs or the star Sirius. Actually it is Earth’s tilt that explains why these days tend to be the hottest during summer.

The Earth’s tilt this time of year causes the sun’s light to hit the Northern Hemisphere at a more direct angle and, accordingly for a longer period of time throughout the day. This means longer, hotter days during the summer. While Sirius is the brightest proper star in the night sky, it still is 8.7 light-years (8.23×1013 km) away and effectively has no effect on Earth’s weather or temperature.

Yet the effects of summer heat and rainfall patterns are real and variations occur by latitude and location according to many factors. Although London is farther north, Calgary has a milder climate from the presence of the sea and the warm Gulf Stream current. One medical institution has reported a connection between Finland’s dog days and an increased risk of infection in deep surgery wounds, though that research is unverified.

So there you have it as to some of the why’s and the what for’s about the dog days of summer. All that  abbreviated history aside, us Knuckleheads tend to be lazy during these pizza-oven hot days (mid 90’s for the past few days). We enjoy early morning walks, and laze about working on our napping form as demonstrated by Sunday’s ‘howliday,’ National Dog Day.  Mostly we are  over these dog days and are excitedly awaiting for Indian Summer to arrive. How have your dog days been?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 6, 2018

Heres to a pawsome Monday with a great week as a chaser.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ July 23, 2018

Is it really Monday again? Wow…where did the weekend go? Here’s an image that I came across in my photo archives that has always tickled me. I laugh out loud thinking of different captions for it. How would you caption it? Here’s to a ‘wagnificent’ Monday!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Twosome Thursday

So I’ve been working on a few “Did You Know” posts that are taking longer to put together than I had hoped. As I was catching up this morning on blog reading and research, this happened. It’s not often the ying-yang gangs lie this way. On a day when the temperatures will hover around 100, we hope you are able to stay cool as you get ready to welcome our good friend Friday back.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Knuckleheads Do a Review

 

Photo courtesy of NomNomNow

Mom hasn’t been part of the pet blogger influencing network before so imagine how thrilling it was when Kevin at NomNomNow contacted us Knuckleheads to see if we’d be willing to try out their fresh food. Sam and Elsa…drooling here. Shortly after we barked a resounding YES, a large and extremely well-insulated box showed up at the Ranch (with the best cooling packs making sure it arrived safely during the heat wave). Our mom knew a little about NomNom and like us, thought this would be a great opportunity for the us to paddle in the pet blogger review pool. Even though I, Sam, HATE water. I do however, love good food.*

Sam: One of the most exciting aspects of NomNom was the fact that the food was all fresh. I could smell the freshness as soon as mom opened the box.

Elsa: Ooh, ooh, yeah, and remember how I came a-running when I smelled that Chicken Chow Wow in those cute packages? It has the high protein percentage dogs like me need for optimum health. And it tastes great!

Sam and Elsa: Yeah…watch what NomNom’s veterinary nutrition expert says. We’re very glad NomNom took the time to formulate nutritionally sound, home-cooked meals for dogs as well as for our kitty fur-iends.

Courtesy of NomNomNow.com

Sam: These meals are made with real meat, vegetables, healthy oils, vitamins and nutrients with NO additives and NO artificial ingredients.

Elsa: And they taste way better than the wool socks I often enjoy eating.

Sam: Elsa, you tend to eat anything, but in this case, I’m glad you’re actually eating something that’s good for you and in keeping with your special needs as an Epi-Warrior. Dogs like you need a high protein diet and the Chicken Chow Wow more than adequately checks that box.

Elsa: Apart from the GRE-AT taste and nutrition in these yummy packages, they arrived ‘pawfectly’ portioned for our unique caloric needs. One of the side effects of my anti-seizure medication is it makes me extra hungry all the time so mom constantly monitors my waistline.

Sam: Yeah she watches mine too. How come when a mom is on a diet, the whole family is on a diet. What’s up with that??

Elsa: Moms are just like that, I guess. Did you know this stuff is human grade and the vitamins are all-natural? Umm, I hope mom doesn’t think I still won’t beg when she’s eating her meals. And I hope she doesn’t think about eating ours either.

Sam: She won’t, remember she’s a veterinarian. I’m sure she knows nothing will stop you from putting on that sad, “I’m starving” look when she sits down to eat her own meals. You really have that look ‘pawfected,’ don’t you?

Elsa:  You bozo, she’s a vegetarian, not a veterinarian. Why are brothers so dumb? And for the record, I’m not milking it just for milk’s sake; I had a rough life so it’s important to strike while the iron’s hot now that I have a pushover good mom.

Sam: {rolls eyes} You…little Ninja, are quite the shameless tool. Do you know the other reasons why this food is great?

Elsa: Do tell, Knucklehead brother!

Sam: I’m ignoring your snark. These meals are all delivered fresh. If you received more than a week’s worth of food, you can freeze and thaw them out when needed. One bag, one meal. Rip, serve, enjoy. How easy is that? There’s nothing like fresh clean food which results in clean energy. More food is absorbed and used for energy which means more playtime with mom! NomNom vitamins, minerals and nutrients promote health coat and skin and the all natural vitamins will keep our immune systems strong and healthy. Because it has no fillers, we get all the essential nutrients we need and are able to use more of the food. Which means less waste, meaning fewer poop bags. Mom likes that feature. Delivery is free and if you do autoship, it can be paused, updated, edited or cancelled at anytime. More convenience! They also have a great customer service department standing by to answer any questions you may have.

Elsa: Wow, you really did your homework on NomNom. I’m impressed, brother. You know what else I liked? They sent a fabulous package of restaurant quality chicken jerky. Man, that stuff tastes incredible and its only ingredient is CHICKEN. Have I told you I LOVE chicken?

Sam:  I know, I start licking my chops whenever mom gets out the package. Cooked in small batches those single ingredient treats have zero preservatives.

Elsa: I noticed you ‘kinda’ liked them. And I also noticed you’ve been eating all your food when mom serves it. No more sniffing and walking away like you’re playing hard to get. That means less for me to bogart so I’m not so happy about that.

Sam: Mom gives you a bowl, so there’s no need to try eating mine too. Remember your girlish figure.

Elsa: You know you could have left me a couple nibbles, but nooooooo. You had to eat EVERYTHING. You never eat everything.

Mom: I think you both enjoyed this deliciousness. So what’s the verdict, kids?

Sam and Elsa (in unison): NomNomNow receives eight paws of approval, mom. And if anyone wants to try it out, click here for a special discount.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

*Full Disclosure
We received no monetary compensation for our review. We did receive a generous supply of NomNomNow to try but our review was not influenced by it.

Did You Know? June 5, 2018 Edition

The Ranch is starting a new periodic feature called “Did You Know?” beginning today. I plan to take various issues or weirdness and share info about it. Today’s entry proved to be a bit of a doozy but one you too may have experienced.

You know that gurgling sound that comes from your dog’s stomach? Did you know it’s got an actual name? “Borborygmi.” Nope, that’s not a typo, borborygmi, pronounced [bawr-buhrig-mahy]. What the dog?! Yeah, I know. I was blown away too. If anyone can explain why science has to get all ‘scientific-y sounding’ with its descriptions, I’d love to hear it. 

Anyway, Sam recently experienced some unusually loud stomach gurgling. I mean REALLY loud. So I did what many fur-mom’s do…I consulted Dr. Google while waiting for the vet to call back. Not one to put blind faith in ‘Net misinformation hyperbole, I figured I’d do a bit of research and the kindly Doc did provide lots of rabbit holes to dive into where I rather quickly found some reliable sources. Dogs, cats and even us uprights experience ‘borborygmi.’

The simple  definition is intestinal agitation caused by moving gas. Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place? So let’s dig a bit deeper into this weird scientific phenomena. So it’s apparently normal for there to be gas in the intestinal tract and it’s also normal for the intestines to engage in motility…the condition whereby intestinal contents move around, thus audible intestinal gurgling is pretty normal.

According to Dogster, “abnormally loud intestinal noises occur when the intestines contain abnormally large quantities of gas, or when the intestines experience abnormally increased activity. Both of these phenomena often occur simultaneously.” Super loud (as in, you can hear it from across the room) is not normal but does not necessarily mean a crisis is brewing. Stomach grumbling may indicate something is off or, your pet could be hungry. Empty intestines in dogs may start to exhibit activity in response to anticipated feeding, thus the audible intestinal noises, or “tummy grumbling” may occur. Serving a meal usually takes care of that since the intestines of hungry animals do not contain significant quantities of food and thus have a higher ratio of gas to solids. Okay,so far  this sounds legit.

In Sam’s case, he acted normal (well, as normal as he is capable of acting). He displayed no other symptoms indicating there was a problem (i.e. lethargy, fever, stuff like that). But then he began experiencing some diarrhea. Not good but I figured a couple of days of bland rice and pumpkin meals should clear up the upset. Sadly, it didn’t clear up and I feared dehydration so off to the vet we went.

I wasn’t able to get into my regular TV star vet any time soon but they were able to refer me to another clinic close by. They asked whether Sam “had perhaps partaken in some sort of digestion indiscretion” (a diplomatic way of saying your dog may have gotten into the trash or had eaten some novel food or worse…goose poop…really? who admits to that). Nope, nothing like that had occurred, so they decided Sam was suffering from a minor gastro-bug after ruling out intestinal parasites, IBD, or foreign bodies (which would be Elsa’s speciality).

Long story short (ironic since we’re probably 600+ words in but I digress)…a couple of doses of Metronidazole for inflammation and an antibiotic for the bug, brought Sam back to normal poops while simultaneously clearing up those loud gurgling sounds. Other than expecting specially prepared meals after recovering (sheesh talk about one spoiled baby), he’s back to his usual knuckleheadedness.

So the next time your pooch’s stomach is gurgling figure out if he’s just hungry or suffering from borborygmi. Your family will think you’re trying to land a fat contract on Animal Planet but if he eats with his normal enthusiasm and the noises stop, the problem is solved. If like Sam it was accompanied with diarrhea, put your TV career on hold and check with your vet to rule out other issues.

I’m better now. So where’s the Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Surviving July 4th with an Anxious Pet

Photo Courtesy of John Leyba, The Denver Post (Getty Images) from the July 4th 2017 game

Every year I dread July 4th, the US holiday celebrating its independence from England. Please know it’s not that I’m unpatriotic (as a naturalized citizen, I believe patriotism need not to be measured by the size of your fireworks display but by your civic action) and in spite of bans and fire restrictions being in effect for many cities and suburbs, there will be loads of knuckleheads fools shooting off what sounds like military artillery fireworks throughout the Mile High City. My own neighborhood has been a big offender ever since I moved here 16 years ago. The ‘Ranch’ is a mere three miles from downtown so we’ll hear three consecutive days of professional firework displays from Civic Center Park to Coors Field. This being the 25th anniversary of the woeful Colorado Rockies (FYI occupying the second to last place in the NL West), that show will probably be even bigger and louder. World Cup enthusiasts will be able to celebrate with the Colorado Rapids club who are offering their own boom-fest in Commerce City, a nearby suburb. Personally I’d wish all these displays would go away, opting in favor of concerts with laser or drone shows, especially since Colorado is in midst of one of the more active fire seasons in recent years with severe drought conditions throughout the state.

It’s well documented that more pets go missing this week than any other time of the year. Trying to survive this easily can pose some special challenges but you can make it somewhat easier for your pet. How you ask?

Enter CBD oil. Did you know that all mammals have an endocannabidiol system and their organs, glands, connective tissues, immune cells and even brains have cannabinoid receptors. Cannabadiol (CBD) is a substance found in commercial hemp plants and can help treat stress, pain, anxiety, fear, seizures, arthritis and other conditions. I know first hand the efficacy of this miracle product, as CBD oil has allowed a reduction in Elsa’s anti-seizure medication and has also helped calm the hyper-activated nerves when Sam rides on lengthy car trips. While CBD infused treats may contain several milligrams per treat, the oil contains much higher doses and will be far more effective for fireworks. Because no THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) is contained in CBD products, your pet won’t have a ‘stoned’ experience, but instead experience a calming effect. A few drops on a biscuit may just be what the doctor ordered to calm your stressed pet during the celebrations this week.*

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy 4th of July.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

*Please check with your family vet before administering CBD products and always use high-quality extracts. Not all products are equal and some brands may use inferior ingredients or extraction methods.

Wordy Wednesday ~ June 20, 2018

It’s Wednesday again, so best to pour yourself a cup. You still have a couple of days till Friday. Till then, it’s ok to make room for the official start of summer.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Editor’s Meeting ~ June 12, 2018

Sam: Oh moooom.  I’m calling an editor’s meeting to discuss equity and fairness.

Mom: Umm, what part of “I’m the boss of the Ranch hands” do you not understand? I’m the one who calls these meetings.

Sam: Umm, we both know who runs this show but if you want to think it’s you, fine by me. Whatever gets you through the night, but I wouldn’t mention that to Elsa though.

Elsa: What…did someone call me?

Sam: I’m calling an editor’s meeting to discuss the issue of equitable treatment around here, or inequitable as the case may be.

Elsa:  Wait, what…there’s some sort of inequality going on? As the one calling the shots around her, I want to get to the bottom of this. Yes, let’s have a meeting!

Sam: See, what’d I tell you?

Mom: There is no inequity around here. Sam was just trying to be clever.

Elsa: Clever, schmlever. Ok, bro…I’ll bite. What are you talking about?

Sam:  I think mom may actually be giving you more treats than me on our walks so I’m registering a complaint.

Mom: You know I give positive reinforcement to Elsa so she doesn’t go nuts when we encounter another dog on our walks. And yes, I give her a treat to help her focus on me rather than going all Cujo on some neighborhood dog.

Sam: See I knew it! How come I don’t get one, huh?

Elsa: Look Knucklehead, I’m making up for lost time learning how to be a dog after all those years in the puppy mill prison. Those treats remind me that I’m loved and well taken care of and help me bond with my mom. They’re building my confidence.

Sam: “Our mom,” but I digress. [Displaying pitiful look on face] I just want to know why you get a treat and I don’t.

Elsa:  Well, I’m the one doing all the learning here. You’re just along for the ride. I didn’t realize wingmen needed treats.

Mom: Now, now…the treats are rewards and positive reinforcement. When you’re good, you get a reward.

Sam: Yeah, but…

Elsa: Oh put a sock on it, dude. I’m the star here. And I’m learning as quick as I can. It ain’t easy when you’ve never had exposure to dogs and people and strollers and…SQUIRRELS!!!

Mom: I don’t think we’re resolving anything thing. Maybe we should check in with Blogville and see what they have to say about this issue.

Sam:  Oh you mean let all my fans decided this. Hell, yeah!

Elsa… Let’s hold on to our top knots here, kids. As the resident Ranch baby and aggrieved puppy mill survivor, I think I should be getting treats all the time. For just being me.

Mom: Treats are given with good performance, Elsa. When you act appropriately and calmly, you are rewarded. We’re trying to teach you that life can be good and is not always a DEFCON 5 alert. It’s possible that you can walk nicely without going off the reservation whenever you see another dog out for a walk.

Elsa: I can…with the right treat.

Sam: See, I’m doomed here.


As a parent, you wouldn’t show favoritism with your 2-legged children, but what are the rules regarding the 4-legged ones? Are the rules the same? Is it possible that dogs know the difference, especially the more ‘simple-minded’ ones?

Has Sam suddenly learned to count and is now calculating that Elsa is receiving more treats that he is? Should he be afforded the same number/same high value treats? He looks at me like I’m some sort of cretin with such a pitiful expression as to induce guilt. I swear that dog must have been a travel agent in a previous life since he is so successful at sending me on those guilt trips.

So where do you fall on this issue? Am I being a monster if I don’t treat him? Remember we’re dealing with a very simple mind and yet, I feel like maybe there’s some merit with his case. Do dogs understand the notion of equality?

Live, love, bark! 🐾